Thursday, February 26, 2009

Brewing Sunday Morning

Classmates - If anyone wants to participate in an all-grain brew session aimed at creating a passable Munich Helles, email me at dan(AT) I'll probably start up around 9:00 on Sunday morning, and wrap up by 2. I live between Brookside and Waldo. Feel free to come by for as much or as little of the process as you like.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

More means of communication

Bob Frato, one of our fellow students, set up a Google Group to present yet another way of sharing information. If you're interested, click here and sign up.

What did you learn while judging beer?

I had a great time with the beer judging. I got to judge French and Belgian Ales on Friday evening, and Amber Lagers on Saturday. Both times, I was paired with helpful and patient BJCP judges, who helped me out a lot. The funny thing, though, was that on Friday we were missing a judge, so we invited a spectator to participate. She didn't claim to be a beer snob at all, didn't know the styles, and didn't know a thing about judging. In some ways, though, she was a better judge than either of us, since she came to the beers with no preconceptions, and simply responded to what she tasted. With a little guidance from our experienced judge, she was able help us identify flavors and aromas.

It was amazing how glaring some of the flaws were in the beers. Phenols in an Oktoberfest would have been noticeable even if we were only drinking one, but when judged side by side with other examples, you could really pick it up. I guess the lesson to draw from this is that we should all drink a whole lot more beer.

I'm eager to see the results come out . . .

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kansas City Bier Meisters

The Kansas City Bier Meisters are having a club meeting this Friday. During the meeting we will be giving a demonstration and having exercises in how to judge and evaluate beer at next week's competition. For those of you who aren't already members, you should come by. The meetings are a great way to hone in your evaluating abilities as well as learn a about the brewing process. You'll get to taste and evaluate a sample of everyone's homebrew and there's plenty of commercial beers to try as well.

First time visitors just need to bring themselves, though you are encouraged to bring is a six-pack to share with everyone. If you have some homebrew, bring it along and we'll evaluate it for you, it's an excellent way to gain some feedback from knowledgable judges without waiting to enter a contest.

Every month we focus on a different style of beer, this month is Category 8: English Pale Ale. Homebrewers are encouraged to bring some if you have any, but all homebrew or commercial beer is welcome.

The meeting starts at 7:30 P.M. this Friday at:

Westwood Lutheran Church
5035 Rainbow Blvd.
Shawnee Mission, KS 66205

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Feel free to email me if you have any questions!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Beer Twitter

Twitter is a great place to talk with people about beer. For those of you unfamiliar with the service, it's a social networking site where anyone can post a 140-character message about what they are currently doing. There are over 5 million people currently on Twitter and the number is growing exponentially. Many of these people "tweet" daily about beer, whether it's beer reviews, homebrewing tips, or just an update from Charlie Papazian about his travels around the world.

To get set up, just go to, once you create a page, here are some great beer related links:

CharliePapazian - The Godfather of homebrew
BrewingNetwork - Brewing podcast
BasicBrewing - Another great brewing podcast
Bullevard73 - Local Kansas City beer blogger
Draftmag - Draft Magazine
MoreBeer_B3 - Beer, Beer, and More Beer: the homebrew shop
TheFullPint - Beer reviews
GatheringBrews - Homebrewers
RealBeer - Beer news

And me... though I don't specialize in beer-related information.

These are just the ones that I follow, are there any out there that you recommend?

Beer Flights

For those of you who want to try your hand at evaluating a variety of different beers without buying a whole pint at a time, The Flying Saucer in downtown KC's Power and Light District offers beer flights. They have a variety of flights to choose from (hoppy beers, Midwest beers, etc.) or you can create your own from anything they have on tap. It's a great and fairly inexpensive way to sample a lot of different beers in one location.

And while you're in the area you can head down the block to Gordon Biersch and order another sampler for further research.

Monday, February 9, 2009

BJCP Exam Study Guide

There's a ton of information available at the BJCP site.

The Exam Study Guide is excellent. It has all of the 90 T/F questions, with answers. It also has a bunch of sample essay questions. Here's an example of one of them that would leave me in deep trouble right now:
Identify three top-fermenting beer styles where the maximum original gravity does not exceed 1.040. Beer styles that are variations of each other based on color, strength or other subtle differences do not count as distinctly different for the purposes of this question. For each style provide a statement describing the style as well as the differences and similarities between the styles by addressing the following topics:
6 points
Describe the aroma, appearance, flavor, and mouthfeel of each sub-style as in the BJCP Style Guidelines.

2 points
Identify at least one aspect of the ingredients (malts, hops, water chemistry) or background information (history, fermentation techniques and conditions, or serving methods) that distinguishes each sub-style.

1 point
For each of the sub-styles name at least one classic commercial example as listed in the BJCP Style Guidelines.

1 point
Describe the similarities and differences between the three sub-styles.

Beer Podcasts?

I've been listening to the Brewing Network lately, and I find that their podcasts offer a great way to make my commute more interesting. I particularly recommend the Jamil Show and Brew Strong.

Are there any other great beer or brewing podcasts you listen to?

Resources for Beer Judging

This blog is created for the people studying for the July, 2009 Beer Judge Certification Program examination in Kansas City. Through this blog, I hope we can share resources and information while preparing for the exam. If you want to be able to post things on the front page, send me your email address and I'll get you started. If you're content to simply comment, then you don't need to get signed up.